Recently CBS 47 reported on a two day forum in Washington, D.C. that focused on how to prevent semi truck crashes and deaths.
Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers in Hickory and elsewhere hope the forum addressed the issue of fatigue driving and overweight trucks, a leading cause of North Carolina truck accidents.
In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported almost 3,400 fatalities from crashes involving large trucks and over 74,000 injuries nationwide. Fatal large truck crashes happen mostly in rural areas (64 percent), on a weekday (79 percent) and during daytime hours (66 percent). In North Carolina, of the 1,778 fatal crashes reported in 2009, 115 involved large trucks and in South Carolina 78 of the 1,156 fatal crashes involved a large truck. One suggestion to decrease driver fatigue is to cut back on the amount of time truck drivers can spend behind the wheel. Currently truckers can drive 11 hours in a 14 hour work day and can drive 70 hours every 8 days. A new rule would potentially decrease driving time to 10 hours a day. Some argue cutting off an hour will just lead to other issues like speeding.
As safety advocates consider decreasing hours of service, Congress is flirting with the idea of increasing truck weight limits.
The Daily Comet asks the question: Should a tractor trailer weigh more than 80,000 pounds? Congress will be focusing on this issue because two bills are currently up for debate. The first one, to freeze the 80,000 limit and the other to let states decide if they want 97,000 pound trucks travel their roadways.
Some groups want the higher poundage saying putting more cargo on the trucks will lessen the number of trucks on the road, thus saving fuel. Other groups say to leave the weight limit as is, citing heavy trucks equal more horrific crashes and increased wear and tear on highways.
SETA (Safe and Efficient Transportation Act) is the bill to increase the truck weight limits and SHIPA (Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act) is the bill to leave the weights as is. Both bills have been filed in House and Senate.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car or truck accident in North or South Carolina, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call today at 1-800-887-1965.